Ahhhhhhh, Kona! Water so blue, so clear, so filled with amazing creatures! Our chunk of rock in the middle of the Pacific is very special and completely different from other dive destinations word-wide. First off, more than twenty percent of our fish are endemic to the Hawaiian Islands – which means if this is your first time diving in Hawaii you will see many new faces.
The Big Island of Hawaii in particular is geologically very young – just over half a million years old, while the Island of Kauai 312 miles to our northwest, is over five million years old. Kona’s unique underwater topography has loads of exposed lava and shoreline structure that may have eroded from older destinations. On days with less surge we can dive through lava tubes, arches and explore craggy pinnacles to our heart’s content!
In the Hawaiian language, Kona means “leeward” or “in the lee”. Once upon a time, the leeward side of each island was referred to as the “Kona side”. Our Kona coast here on the Big Island enjoys loads of natural protection so we typically have beautiful, calm conditions. Even when the wind is “blowing stink” 20 miles north on the Kohala coastline, it’s often glassy and flat here near Kailua-Kona, known locally as Kona Town.
Hawaii has no continental shelf, so our drop off in most areas of the Big Island is really close to shore. This affords us multi-level profiles at the majority of our sites. Instead of dropping into water 80 feet deep and staying there until we need to ascend, we typically drop into between 30 and 35 feet of water, work our way down to a pre-determined max depth (based on experience level, conditions and what there is to see!) and then ascend to shallower depths for the remainder of the dive. This way we’re able to visit a variety of habitats and help everyone to have a nice, long dive. When diving with Kona Diving Company, your dive time won’t be limited by the fastest breather in the group; if you’re good on your air, you’ll be invited to stay down with your guide until you’re at 700 PSI (50 bar) or your computer says your are out of no decompression time.
For the most part our underwater pace is slow and easy. We find that by diving slowly we are able to observe and learn more about our underwater friends and their behaviors. We do our best to keep diver to guide ratios very intimate – typically we have four to five divers per guide, with an absolute max of six to one. Each dive is preceded by a detailed briefing including our planned profile, what topography to expect and what kinds of life we may see based on the area’s habitats.
Given that the Hawaiian islands are so remote (2300 hundred miles from any other land mass!), our water moves differently than some other places. If you’ve never been on a boat in Hawaii before, please consider taking a motion sickness preventative before your trip – even if you don’t normally get sea sick. We have found that taking a first dose of medication well in advance (i.e., the night before your morning trip or the morning before your night trip) and then again just before leaving is the most effective method of preventing sea sickness.
Some words about conditions: All charters are dependent upon conditions. We do our best to make our boat go every day and night, but we will never put our guests, our crew or our boat in dangerous situations. Though conditions may limit our dive site choices, we have nearly 40 sites within a few miles of our harbor (Honokohau Harbor) and most of the year we can choose from a huge variety of sites. For those guests diving with us on multiple days we make every effort to take you to different sites each day.